Round Rock Drums Hosts “Shake Rattle And Drum Roll” Drum Clinic At Play For All Abilities Park

RoundRockDrumsLogo-Web3My friends, Ed and Kim Francis of Round Rock Drums, are getting ready to host an amazing drum clinic at the Play For All Abilities Park here in Round Rock called the Shake, Rattle and Drum Roll. The setting is no accident. The Play For All Abilities Park is a huge gift to our community from the City of Round Rock, Seton Health Care Williamson, HEB, Wag-A-Bag, the Maxwell Family of Dealerships, Chasco and several other local business and group sponsors.

The park’s purpose is to provide a play space for children regardless of their ability level. Because of this park, all parents and children can go there and know that there will be plenty of fun stuff for everyone to join in on.

Ed and Kim believe that there is no more fun thing to do than teaching kids to drum and that the Play For All Abilities Park is a perfect place to do it. I’ve watched Ed teach his students, and I know everybody in that studio was having a blast. I’m not absolutely sure, but I think the person having the most fun was Ed. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Nisha Agrawal of Henna Arts

Nisha Agrawal Henna ArtsMy mother was born and raised in London, England. She used to talk of her life there like she had been raised in some far away magic world. Mom was an only child, but she had a huge extended family with tons of cousins, aunts and uncles. Her mom, my grandmother, had eleven brothers and sisters and her dad, my grandfather, had five, so you can just imagine the fun she had at family get-togethers. She would also talk about how exciting it was to be raised in such a great and historic city with its theaters, museums, parks and pubs. She loved her family and she loved living in London.

Even during World War II with all of its restrictions on civilians, mom would find the most amazing things to do, and her stories used to keep us entertained for hours. Of course, many of her wartime experiences were very sad and you could tell that, even many years later she could feel the pain of those memories. Nevertheless, in her typically British manner she would throw off the sadness with some equally entertaining story about a good thing that happened during those years. She was a real light to all those who knew her.

During those wartime years she met and married an American soldier, my dad, and she then followed him all over the world as he moved from assignment to assignment as a career military professional in the United States Air Force. She did this without a question, and along the way found the time to raise five kids. Mom never for a second talked about what she gave up but always talked about what she gained – us. You could tell she loved her old life in England but would not have traded a second of her new life for her old. Mom always had her face to the wind and her eye on the horizon. [Read more…]

Round Rock Drums and Ed Francis – A Round Rock Institution

Round Rock Drums Ed FrancisGosh. Where do you start with Ed Francis? Well, I guess the first place to start would be his booming voice that is full of enthusiasm, cheer and encouragement. What an amazing guy. If you’re a little depressed, you should take the time to get to know this fellow. If you are having a bad day, make an appointment to come by and watch Ed teach kids how to drum at Round Rock Drums. You will feel like a new man or woman. I’m not kidding here – totally serious.

Working with kids is tough, believe me. During my futile attempts to restart my professional life, I thought it would be fun to teach middle school kids science until I spent a year substituting. My substituting experience took that idea into the woods, tied it to a tree and clubbed it to death. At some point, I realized that teaching was not for me. However, one thing I gained from that experience was a much improved respect for people who can work with kids.

Ed is one of those people who deserve our admiration and respect not only because he can work with kids but also because he loves it. They love him too. It’s a lot like the experience I just wrote about concerning Vicki Henderson and Arts Avenue for Kids. Vicki feels like she really isn’t working because she is doing what she loves. That is the same language Ed uses when he talks about what he does. When you have found your passion and you can turn it into the thing that you use to feed your family, you are truly in a special place. [Read more…]

Author Gwen Cooper’s Book Tour Stops at Shadow Cats in Round Rock

Gwen Cooper and Homer the blind wonder cat at Shadow Cats in Round Rock TexasGwen Cooper, author of New York Times Best Seller Homer’s Odyssey – How I learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat, made a stop on her book tour at Round Rock’s Shadow Cats sanctuary last Friday evening.  She visited with her human and feline fans and broadcasted an internet reading of her most recent book, Love Saves the Day: A Novel.

Gwen was gracious enough to give me a little time on camera to talk about her new book and go into some detail about what all went into the writing Homer's Odyssey Gwen Cooper and Homer the blind wonder cat at Shadow Cats in Round Rock Texasof this sweet story. As Gwen mentions in the video below, this heart warming novel is about the challenging relationship between a daughter and her mom and how the main character, Prudence the cat, is able to help them restore their damaged ties.

Prudence, a rescue kitty, narrates the story.  Her insights into human behavior are just as entertaining as her confusion about just why people do the thing they do. The story is set in New York City which also adds greatly to the entertainment value. It is a great mix of mother/daughter turmoil and how Prudence is not only in the business of teaching them both life lessons, but also in the middle of her own struggle to make sense of the interesting things her humans do.

Gwen and her husband Laurence, who is accompanying her on the book tour, also spent a lot of time entertaining the Shadow Cats audience about the day to day experiences they both have with their blind rescue kitty Homer who is the subject of Gwen’s last book, Homer’s Odyssey. Homer is quite a character and, in spite of his blindness, leads Gwen and Laurence through many happy experiences ranging from how he gets along with his human and feline roommates to his eccentric tastes in food. [Read more…]

A Marvelous Party – Round Rock’s Penfold Theatre

imagesWell times are tough but they’re never so tough that a good jolt of dinner theater can’t bring a skip to your step and a smile to your face. Here’s your chance to relax, lighten up and support our amazing local performing artists. Penfold Theatre’s 2013 – 14 season will be announced at A Marvelous Party on May 19th on the grounds of Kindred Oaks estates out in the Hill Country.  Tickets are available through May 13th.  A Marvelous Party is complied and directed by Susan Finnigan and Nathan Jerkins.

A great meal will be catered by Bowties 2 Bluejeans while guests are entertained by local “crooners” who have been a part of Penfold’s past productions. The event is a fund raiser for Penfold and all of the proceeds will go to support its upcoming season and to further support its “mission to bring professional theater performances and education programs to North Travis and Williamson Counties.” Those who follow this blog know that this is just what Your Local is all about.

Ryan Crowder

Ryan Crowder

I had the chance to spend some time with several of the people involved with the Penfold Theatre group. I dropped by a rehearsal held at the beautiful home of Susan Finnigan where I got the chance to peek in on the musical magic and interview Penfold’s Producing Artistic Director, Ryan Crowder. I was also able to listen to performances by Nathan Jerkins, Penfold’s Artistic Director, and Stephanie Delk, who is a stage manager and performer with Penfold Theatre. They were working on their songs for the A Marvelous Party performance, as was Ryan, and if you click on the video you will get to see and hear some of what you are in for at the May 19th fund raiser. The video also goes into some interesting detail about Penfold’s past, present and future.  [Read more…]

Round Rock Market Days on Main Street

Round Rock Monday Music On Main StreetI’m gonna start calling Round Rock and Williamson County “the place of a million hidden treasures.” Austin and Travis County get a lot of the attention. I guess you can say that Austin is the “Marsha” of the Central Texas Brady Bunch. But the rest of the Central Texas Brady Bunch of sister communities have nothing to be ashamed of, especially Round Rock.

I am sure that others have heard about Round Rock’s Round Rock Market Days, but I wasn’t as up to speed as you folks in the know. I’m catching up. I was snooping around on some calendars and found it listed as an event and decided it needed to be checked out. I am glad I did.

Sherri Arrington and Annie Urban put their heads together and decided to form Mainstreet Productions which is responsible for Round Rock Market Days. Round Rock Market Days happens on Round Rock’s old town Main Street across from the Round Rock Public Library. There are scores of really great craft and arts booths, food vendors, jewelry booths and lots of other local businesses selling their wares. Round Rock Market Days is a monthly event usually happening on the first Saturday of every month (except for October 2013) and is currently scheduled through December 7th of this year. Sherri and Annie are also responsible for the Pflugerville Pfood Ranch and, if you want to learn more about that event click here. [Read more…]

Erin’s Bottle Cap Art – Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration

Round Rock's Erin's Bottle Cap ArtAnother great find at last Saturday’s Round Rock Centennial Celebration: Erin’s Bottle Cap Art. I have to tell you that I am a sucker for this kind of art. I love it when people take discarded items, in this case thrown away bottle caps, and turn them into beauty. Erin Dennehy has done just this. This type of out-of-the-proverbial-box work reminds me of the kind of art that came out of the Pop Art era of the 60s when Andy Warhol made a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can so famous.

Pop Art has given us so much interesting work to enjoy. It has also morphed in a lot of different directions but, what I believe it gets the most credit for, is the way it turned our collective eye toward the beauty in the “every day.” We became a throw away society, but work like this is helping us learn to give a second or third look at what has always been called junk. [Read more…]